Triduum: Gandalf Muses

- Mrs. Frodo

 I. Good Friday

         the fire-wreath

        I was no herald of woe, not to Frodo, not then; he greeted me
with all the eager joy of youth.
        When I think how his eyes shone at the sight of me....

        Oh, yes.  I suspected the truth about that little gold band.  
But even the Wise go blind in the bright light of temporary peace.  If
had known...if only I had known my own blindness, and the cost it would
        -Here.  Just a moment.  He stirs.  Moans.  Cries out.
        With Aragorn tending others, I crumble athelas into hot water.  
My hands shake.  Steam rises, sweet comfort.  I bathe my little friend's
many wounds with the fragrant water:  shoulder.....neck..... lash-marks,
teeth-marks......blessed Varda!  In this delirium his sightless eyes are
open wide.  Even the light of Eärendil does not reach him there, under
the Wheel of Fire, the torments which crushed him. His brain is branded;
his heart, seared.  Merciful Nienna--so much agony for one small mortal
to bear!
        Once he awakens--if he awakens--to find me here--when I tell him
how much I love him, will he believe me?  Will he be able to see through
the great wreath of fire to the old man he loved and trusted?  Will he
see a beloved friend or a shade, a harbinger of misery worse than death?....

        ...I had not thought this immortal heart capable of breaking.

II.  Holy Saturday

        Beloved friend, you were all wide eyes and wonder at my tales of
the outside world--the very image of fair, glowing Hobbit innocence.  
Poor fellow!  What the weakness of Isildur has put you through.  What
put you through!  You know now it could have been no other way.  
Inordinate evil can only be foiled by inordinate, unsparing good.
        I know.  You cannot see this about yourself, not even with the
exultant madness, the praise, honor, gratitude and outright awe, of
Cormallen still vivid in memory.  Having been crushed to within a breath
of annihilation you are wrung out, pure worn fiber hung on a thin line,
faded in the sun.  Yet, my lad, your spirit endures.  Yes, it does!  
think you are too close to your own center to perceive it. Believe me
when I tell you that suffering has rarefied you.  You are a singularity,
Master Baggins-- something rich and strange, pure as the adamant of
Nenya, foreign even to yourself.

        Back to Eriador, back to the Shire...returning to your own.  
fear they will see you far less clearly than you see yourself.  Grown
too deep you have, my friend, too high, too clear for them now. As an
Elf, visible but unseen, you will be to them, a beautiful, tragic
incongruent in their narrow field of perception.
        The worlds are in shift.  My dear Frodo! you are the crux-point
of time, even as it falls away from you.  Shire-born, the Shire will no
longer be yours.  For you are no longer of the Shire--nor of any bent road.
        When we steal through, Haven-bound, come away with us.  Find the
sea of your dreams and the home you always knew existed.  In that land
all will greet you with unclouded eyes, and you will know yourself at
long, long last.

III.  Easter Sunday

        He clutches the living star to his breast, and I clutch him to
mine.  My robes are wet with sea-spray and the salt tears of this
precious soul tried too high, bent with exquisite cruelty, far beyond
hope unbroken, the toughest of all twigs in Middle-Earth.
        I am honored to hold him, to feel the innocent sorrow of his
tears.  Let him weep out the pain as blood from a bruise.  Let the
healing commence.  By Valar-grace and the power of the One, he shall be
whole!  The Blessed Realm will not be blessed for me until that day--
        He turns in my arms.  I feel him stretching, then see a flash of
light.  With a glance, I understand:   in the midst of grief he is
offering hope to the ones left behind, lifting Eärendil's liquid fire
for them as high as he can reach.
        Rising, I catch him up.  His weightlessness breaks my heart.  
With tender care I set him on my right shoulder, more fully in sight of
those desperately waving their arms upon the the fast-receding shore.  
He does not cling to me, not even to steady himself.  Implicit, unspoken
trust.  Tears follow the furrow-paths down my face.
        Undue power has vanished with the One from the flame-ring,
Narya, my close companion of many centuries, but a certain virtue
remains.  It responds to my thought with a surge of exhileration.  
feel its new power:  mild, calm, untramelled.  White flame races through
my blood, then arcs in full embrace around the little Hope-bearer,
merging its brilliance with his gentle hallowed glow.  It twines up his
arm and swathes his four-fingered hand, and meets the Phial.
        An epiphany of fire not seen in Middle-Earth before or since.  
The sea-mists burn away in splendor.
        Once nearly consumed by the wheel of fire, Frodo has become a
vessel of fire, white fire, holy fire, the fire of Anor, of Eärendil, of
Celebrimbor, of the Noldor and the Istari, of those who build and those
who burrow, those who share the great Gift.
        Remember, beloved friends!  Remember the wounded hand wreathed
with light, and know this beyond doubt:  he lives.  He lives indeed!